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General-Purpose CAD reviews by real, verified users. Find unbiased ratings on user satisfaction, features, and price based on the most reviews available anywhere.

Best General-Purpose CAD Software

Computer-aided design (CAD) software is used in various industries to create 2D technical drawings, mock-ups of conceptual designs, and 3D models of physical objects. These digital representations of physical objects are used in the creation of actual objects in the tangible world.

The products in the General-Purpose category include CAD programs that offer a wide range of tools and functionality to their users. While products may vary in their strengths and the breadth of their capabilities, they are not designed exclusively to meet the needs of an individual industry or field. Furthermore, products in this category have the potential to integrate with more specialized tools such as those in the Civil Engineering and BIM software.

To qualify for inclusion in the General-Purpose Computer-Aided Design (CAD) category, a product must:

Have 2D technical drawing capabilities
Have 3D modeling capabilities
Possess the ability to be used across several industries

Top 10 General-Purpose CAD Software

  • AutoCAD
  • SketchUp
  • Onshape
  • AutoCAD LT
  • Fusion 360
  • Inventor
  • BricsCAD
  • DraftSight
  • CADWorx
  • Solid Edge

Compare General-Purpose CAD Software

G2 takes pride in showing unbiased reviews on user satisfaction in our ratings and reports. We do not allow paid placements in any of our ratings, rankings, or reports. Learn about our scoring methodologies.
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(1,043)4.4 out of 5
Optimized for quick response
Entry Level Price:$4410 /3 years

Subscribe to Autodesk® AutoCAD® including specialized toolsets and get access to industry-specific functionality, greater mobility with the new web and mobile apps, and the latest feature updates. Speed up your work with specialized features & libraries for mechanical design, architecture, 3D mapping, and more while working in a familiar AutoCAD interface. Only AutoCAD, with the new web and mobile apps, gives you the freedom and flexibility to work on anything, anywhere, at any time. Design

(464)4.4 out of 5
Entry Level Price:$119 Single User/Year

The most popular 3D modeling and design tool in the world, SketchUp users model everything from treehouses to intricate, energy-efficient buildings. Owned by Trimble Inc., an entrepreneurial company focused on leveraging technology to change how the way the world works, SketchUp is both intuitive and powerful for professionals and creatives of all kinds. The suite of tools within the program enhances workflows and creative concepts across a variety of industries including architecture, enginee

(390)4.7 out of 5
Optimized for quick response
Entry Level Price:$1,500 per user, per year

Onshape is a next-generation SaaS design platform that speeds up product development. It’s an all-in-one system that combines CAD, release management, workflow, collaboration, analytics, admin tools, and an API with more than 50 engineering applications. Onshape helps extended design teams work together faster and helps executives make better business decisions with real-time analytics and unprecedented visibility into their company’s design and manufacturing processes. Thousands of companies r

(181)4.2 out of 5
Entry Level Price:$380 per year

Create precise 2D drawings faster with the easy-to-use drafting tools in Autodesk® AutoCAD LT® software. Share your work with confidence using TrustedDWG™ technology, the original and most accurate way to store and exchange design data. Simplified 2D drafting and documentation tools help you produce detailed technical drawings that you can easily edit and repurpose. Collaborate with colleagues using connected desktop, cloud, and mobile Autodesk® AutoCAD® solutions. AutoCAD LT software – engineer

(310)4.5 out of 5
Entry Level Price:$332

Fusion 360 is for product designers, mechanical engineers, electrical engineers, and machinists. It unifies design, engineering, PCB design, and manufacturing into a single platform. It allows you to connect your disconnected product development process to deliver high-quality products to market faster and positively impact your bottom line. Fusion 360 is a fully integrated CAD, CAM, PCB, and CAE software that includes generative design, 2.5, 3, 4, & 5 axis machining, and advanced simulatio

(381)4.4 out of 5
Optimized for quick response
Entry Level Price:$2085 1 year

Autodesk® Inventor® 2021 software provides engineers and designers professional grade design and engineering solution for 3D mechanical design, simulation, visualization, and documentation. With Inventor software, engineers can integrate 2D and 3D data into a single design environment, creating a virtual representation of the final product that enables them to validate the form, fit, and function of the product before it is ever built. Autodesk Inventor includes powerful parametric, direct edi

(53)4.5 out of 5
Entry Level Price:350 USD /user/year

BricsCAD the first all-in-one CAD design solution in .dwg that answers all your needs; 2D drafting, 3D modeling, mechanical design, and BIM. The BricsCAD® family of products brings a cost-effective, multi-platform CAD solution to Windows, macOS, and Linux. BricsCAD is available as a permanent/perpetual license & subscription license, for networked or stand-alone computers. You can also add Maintenance for ease of keeping up-to-date. Familiarity for other CAD users and full LISP support ca

(74)4.1 out of 5
Entry Level Price:$99 per year

A feature-rich 2D and 3D CAD solution for architects, engineers and construction service providers, as well as professional CAD users, designers, educators and hobbyists. DraftSight lets you create, edit, view and markup any kind of 2D and 3D DWG file with greater ease, speed and efficiency. Its familiar user interface facilitates a quick transition from your current CAD application.

(24)4.5 out of 5

CADWorx Plant Design Suite is an integrated, complete AutoCAD and BricsCAD-based software series for plant design that provides intelligent drawing and database connectivity, advanced levels of automation, and easy-to-use drafting tools.

(120)4.1 out of 5
Entry Level Price:$75 / seat / month

Solid Edge is a portfolio of affordable, easy to deploy, maintain, and use software tools that advance all aspects of the product development process – mechanical and electrical design, simulation, manufacturing, technical documentation, data management, and cloud-based collaboration. Developed on Siemens industry leading technologies, Solid Edge provides the most innovative and comprehensive approach to product development for the mainstream market.

(234)4.0 out of 5
Entry Level Price:$2,410 USD License

MicroStation’s advanced parametric 3D modeling and intelligent drafting capabilities enable infrastructure professionals of any discipline to collaborate on and deliver projects of any scale and complexity. You and your team can aggregate work in MicroStation, including designs and models created with Bentley’s discipline-specific modeling applications. As a result, you can create comprehensive, multi-discipline BIM models, documentation, and other deliverables. MicroStation and all Bentley BIM

(25)4.6 out of 5

CMS IntelliCAD® is the intelligent, powerful and affordable full-featured CAD Software providing extended customization. CMS IntelliCAD offers a full suite of 2D and 3D Autodesk® AutoCAD® compatible drawing tools! It is the smartest choice for engineers, architects and consultants, or anyone who communicates using CAD drawings. It is designed to give you the best unrivaled compatibility and a true CAD Software alternative providing an extensive programming toolkit for LISP, VBA .Net and IRX deve

(44)4.3 out of 5

FreeCAD is a parametric 3D modeler made primarily to design real-life objects of any size.

(25)4.4 out of 5

For organizations that want the ease of use of SOLIDWORKS software in their design tool coupled with the advantage of the cloud for data management and team collaboration, SOLIDWORKS Product Designer delivers. Scale as your business grows using the full power of the 3DEXPERIENCE platform

ActCAD is a 2D Drafting and 3D Modeling CAD software meant for Engineers, Architects and other technical consultants. ActCAD is a native DWG & DXF CAD software to create and edit drawings. ActCAD is based on the technologies from IntelliCAD Technology Consortium (ITC), ODA Teigha Libraries, ACIS 3D Kernel, Wintopo, ps2edit etc. ActCAD uses the most recently released version of IntelliCAD to offer the best performance and features to its users. ActCAD as many add-on commands and features supp

(13)4.3 out of 5

ArcGIS for AutoCAD is a free, plug-in application for AutoCAD that allows you to access and create GIS data by connecting to services from ArcGIS for Server and ArcGIS Online.

(30)4.3 out of 5

OpenSCAD is a software for creating solid 3D CAD objects.

(11)4.1 out of 5

Vectorworks, Inc. is a global design and BIM software developer serving over 650,000 professionals in the architecture, landscape and entertainment industries. Since 1985, we’ve been committed to helping designers capture inspiration, nurture innovation, communicate effectively and bring their visions to life. With our cross-platform software, designers can build data-rich, visual models without sacrificing the design process, while collaborating efficiently throughout the project life-cycle. He

Integrated BIM tools for building design, civil infrastructure, and construction. Get access to a set of integrated tools that equip you to meet any project challenge – now and in the future. Use powerful BIM and CAD workflows enabled by a comprehensive set of software and services to deliver your best work and stay competitive. Why a collection? • Be ready for anything with a full set of BIM tools Get an essential set of tools, including Revit and AutoCAD, at a great price. And with access t

(30)4.3 out of 5
Entry Level Price:$149.99

TurboCAD Pro Platinum is a professional 2D/3D CAD application that offers a great collection of 2D/3D design tools to design, modify, present, and document in an integrated fashion. An optional AutoCAD®-like 2D drafting interface with command line and dynamic input cursor helps professionals already familiar with AutoCAD easily get up to speed. Advanced technology —a powerful drafting palette, D-Cubed constraints, and ACIS® engine—enhance productivity. Advanced architectural and mechanical des

(13)4.0 out of 5

Cimatron's CAD/CAM solutions address the entire tool making process from quoting to design, applying engineering changes and NC programming. Cimatron delivers major advantages for mold, die and manufacturing shops keeping you more competitive across your entire range of operations

Corel DESIGNER combines technical illustration tools including the ability to manipulate 3D CAD drawings with tools to help you produce technical drawings.

(11)4.1 out of 5

Think through ideas and pre-build projects with simple, fun 3D modeling.

(24)3.8 out of 5

LibreCAD is a free Open Source CAD application for Windows, Apple and Linux.

(22)4.2 out of 5

nanoCAD Plus is a professional grade CAD tool. It has a familiar interface, powerful drafting and design tools, native DWG compatibility, and an open API. It is available through a low-cost annual subscription, including updates and priority online support.

(10)4.3 out of 5

The free open source 2D CAD for Windows, Mac and Linux.

(9)3.8 out of 5

ZWSOFT is a CAD/CAM solutions provider, with over 320,000 clients across 80 countries.

(7)3.6 out of 5

ANSYS Discovery SpaceClaim is a multipurpose 3D modeling application providing efficient solutions to common modeling tasks. Built on the direct modeling technology, Discovery SpaceClaim removes geometry problems associated with various 3D CAD operations, such as design or concept modeling, repair of translated CAD files, general model defeaturing, and complete model editing.

(12)4.0 out of 5

PTC Creo Direct is a stand-alone app that enables casual CAD users to create new geometry or modify any existing 3D CAD design, regardless of file format. Direct interaction with the geometry makes it easy for anyone to learn and use. That’s why it’s the ideal tool for people in concept design, analysis, and manufacturing ― or for anyone who’s new to 3D CAD or uses it infrequently. Working with Creo Direct is quick, flexible and intuitive. It is well suited for tasks such as generating proposa

(5)4.1 out of 5

Live Home 3D is an intuitive home design software, created to enable users to build the house of their dreams on their Mac or Windows. The program automatically creates 3D visualisation once you’ve drawn a floor plan. Floor plans can be built using wall, room and other 2D tools, or traced from an imported image using 2D tools. Internal object library includes kitchen sets, sofas, tables, chairs, windows, stairs, and many other items. Integration with Trimble 3D Warehouse is what distinguishes

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Leaders
High Performers
Contenders
Niche
Solid Edge
Inventor
AutoCAD
SketchUp
TurboCAD
DraftSight
Vectorworks
BricsCAD
AutoCAD LT
MicroStation
Fusion 360
CMS IntelliCAD
CorelDRAW Technical Suite X7
Onshape
nanoCAD
FreeCAD
OpenSCAD
QCAD
LibreCAD
ArcGIS for AutoCAD
ACTCAD Professional
CADWorx
SolidWorks Product Designer
Cimatron
SketchUp for Web
Autodesk Architecture, Engineering & Construction Collection
Market Presence
Satisfaction

Learn More About General-Purpose CAD Software

What is CAD Software?

CAD (computer-aided design) software is used to create 2D and 3D models and drawings of buildings and other physical objects. Architectural and construction drawings are the most common outcomes of CAD tools. However, CAD can be used across many different industries to produce everything from technical drawings of electrical or automotive structures, to media and film animation.

Key Benefits of General-Purpose CAD Software

  • Increase productivity and efficiency in creating 2D and 3D drawings and models
  • Easily alter designs
  • Improve accuracy, precision, and control in drafting and design
  • Enable communication and collaboration between designers and with clients
  • Maintain essential databases for design and manufacturing

Why Use CAD Software?

Improve Design Quality – This software enables the creation of incredibly precise drawings. CAD products not only combine the functionality of tools such as rulers, paper, pens, and calculators, but also improve them. With manual design, it would be necessary to verify and draw objects with painstaking accuracy to capture the correct object dimensions. CAD software offers multiple ways to grab exact dimensions, the simplest method of which is to locate points on an object simply by snapping to an interval on a grid.

Decrease Errors – As CAD software creates 3D models of real objects, it allows users the ability to see the end result of objects before they are created. That means you can correct any issues before the object in question is brought to life. When it comes to buildings, CAD can assist with serious issues, such as design flaws that can compromise the structural integrity of your building. 3D printing enables users to take an even closer look issues within these objects.

Save Time – Before CAD software, the only way to draft a model of a physical object was by hand. Using these tools to design your model will save your team a considerable amount of time. And not only is CAD a time saver, but it allows users to see their creations in 3D, which manual drafting is incapable of offering.

Improve Cross-Departmental Collaboration – If the production of a physical object is a main focus of your business, this will require a lot of collaboration across different departments within your company. CAD software helps ensure that your work can easily be shared with your colleagues. Many of these tools can save your files in a variety of different formats. Having CAD files compatible with so many file formats means that data will not be lost when passing work to other colleagues.

Who Uses CAD Software?

While it can be utilized across many different fields, such as construction and filmmaking, CAD software is more commonly used by engineers. The introduction of this tool was revolutionary to the engineering field, as it allowed for roles such as designer and draftsman to merge with engineering. People in these fields use CAD tools to develop 2D and 3D precision drawings and models of buildings and physical objects. Engineers and other users can depend on CAD to digitally draft their designs, with its ability to convey information such as materials, processes, dimensions, and tolerance. All this data is utilized by engineers to create 2D or 3D objects.

CAD Software Features

Drawing – Drawing is the most basic and fundamental feature of a CAD platform; it is the functionality that allows you to sketch out your initial design. CAD offers the tools for you to digitally create a precise drawing of your object.

3D modeling – Professional CAD tools have the ability to modify 3D objects. Many of these tools offer different kinds of 3D modeling, and each has its own benefits. 3D wireframe modeling is useful for initial design iterations, such as reference geometry. Solid modeling offers mass properties and sectioning capabilities. Surface modeling gives users control over curved surfaces for accurate manipulation and modeling. Mesh modeling is ideal for freeform sculpting, ceasing, and smoothing.

Rendering – Rendering a 3D model creates a raster image based on the 3D objects in a designed scene. This feature is greatly beneficial, as it shows the clear vision of the object you are designing, not just a plotted drawing. A rendering of a 3D object allows you to see certain features, such as the impact of lighting and shadows.

Editing – An object designed within a CAD tool will eventually be created in reality, so this software gives designers the ability to edit their designs as much as needed. You can perform actions such as erase, trim, and undo with the drawings you create to ensure they are up to your organization’s standards.

File Options – CAD tools provide the ability to share your work with colleagues via file export through a number of different formats. The native file format for CAD software is typically compatible with many advanced design and imaging applications. These tools also support large file sizes, as to not limit the designs you are working on.

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